HONG KONG—International bowlers are arriving in Hong Kong this week to prepare for their challenges to the titles at this year's Hong Kong International Bowls Classic which starts on Saturday Nov. 8, 2014.
Entitled "CCC 120th Anniversary Hong Kong International Bowls Classic", the event is sponsored by Craigengower Cricket Club to celebrate its 120 years of service to the Hong Kong community.
But the bad news for lawn bowls fans is that this year's competition will not be televised due to a hugely inflated broadcasting fee. In the last two years, all the finals were broadcasted live on NowTV.
The 64 men and 64 women players will take part in the singles competitions.
In addition to elite local Hong Kong players, participants also include top bowlers from 13 of the world's strongest bowling nations, including Australia, Canada, China, England, Fiji, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, Thailand, and Wales.
Last year, Hong Kong bowlers made history by having representatives in all the Quarter Finals however, the only survivor, Hong Kong international Stanley Lai, was defeated by England bowler Richard Catton in the final.
Defending champion Catton will play at Hong Kong Football Club in the first game of the competition, against Paul Lee of Tuen Mun Sports Club. Lai will play at Indian Recreation Club against Youth Team member James Po.
For the ladies, defending champion, Scottish Lorraine Malloy will play Dreamy Ng of Seabird Sports Club at CCC.
The singles is a knockout competition that will be played at the Hong Kong Football Club, Indian Recreation Club and Craigengower Cricket Club, on Nov. 8-9, with the finals being held at CCC in the afternoon of Nov. 9.
The 64 competitors include overseas bowlers and Hong Kong's top bowlers comprising winners of national singles events and qualifiers from local clubs.
After the conclusion of the singles, the seven-day pairs competition will commence on Monday (Nov. 10), also at the same venues.
The 24 teams of each gender will be divided into two groups to play out a round robin competition. The top team from each group will enter the Semi-finals directly, while the second and third place will meet in a play-off to fight for places in the Semi-finals.
First organised in 1981, the Hong Kong International Bowls Classic is recognised as one of the best outdoor bowls tournaments in the world. Over the years, famous bowlers from all leading bowling countries have participated in the event. Hong Kong has won the pairs title on five occasions, with the last triumph in 2007. In the singles, Hong Kong players George Souza Jnr and Noel Kennedy won their titles in 1984 and 1994 respectively.
Claudius Lam is an Officer with the Hong Kong Lawn Bowls Association.